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This Day in History: Langston Hughes Is Born

hughes

Photo: Langston Hughes photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1936 (Wikimedia Commons)

February 1, 1902: Langston Hughes Is Born 

On this day in 1902, James Mercer Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri. A poet and novelist, he became known as the “Shakespeare of Harlem” during the 1920s and 1930s.

Originally from the Midwest, Hughes traveled the world and worked in a great variety of jobs. He is especially well-known for his perceptive and sympathetic portrayals of life in black America.

Learn more about Langston Hughes with Masterpiece’s Langston Hughes biography.

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History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Attributed to Albrecht Dürer (1496). It is possible that this could be an early work of Durer, or just as likely the work of his master, Wolgemut. The 1484 refers to a planetary conjunction, not the date of the print. An early depiction of Syphilis which was still called 'French Disease' at the time.

A section of an illustration attributed to Albrecht Dürer (1496). It is possible that this could be an early work of Durer, or just as likely the work of his master, Wolgemut.

Did you know the original term for Syphilis was “The French Disease“, it made the flesh fall off your face, and killed millions of people? Ever wonder about state-of-the-art treatment for S.T.D.’s in the middle ages?

Did you know that in the 17th century, patients with syphilis were made to wear yellow in hospital ‘foul’ wards, and nicknamed “canaries” (the yellow clothing) until Westmoreland Lock Hospital in Dublin–the first to treat people with venereal diseases–opened in 1792? Of course you didn’t. Neither did I.

From stdpanels.com, an innovative timeline:

History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The samples shown here barely do it justice, it’s formatted in a way that can only be appreciated by visiting the site, and navigating from the 1400s, all the way up to the 21st century.

US Government WWII anti-VD poster believed to date from 1942-1945. This poster is now in the public domain. Posters like this one warning against VD were once commonplace.

US Government WWII anti-VD poster believed to date from 1942-1945. This poster is now in the public domain.
Posters like this one warning against VD were once commonplace.

For a long time it was thought that syphilis and gonorrhea were the same disease and it wasn’t until the 20th century that the distinction was made when it was discovered that they were caused by different bacteria. Posters like this one were commonplace in the 1940s to try and warn against venereal diseases.

History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

During World War II large numbers of Americans, including soldiers, died of syphilis, leading the US Public Health Service to make a short motion picture entitled ‘To The People of The United States’ starring Jean Hersholt about the risks of contracting syphilis.

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